Monday, July 26, 2010

National Service, Discounts, and Geezers Get Squat.

Back when I was in college I bought a wall calendar for the next century.  I'm a stickler for planning, and in the pre-internet time of 1987 a big pad of numbered squares was the best thing going.

I made one gigantic X on January 11, 2022.  On that day I'd be 55 years old and on that day I'd get my free coffee at Arby's and free breakfast at Denny's.  I'd get a discount on medical supplies and my oil change.  Being thrifty, the senior discount is a hot perk of growing old. 

Gazing at the senior discount from a distance makes me reconsider my need for it.  My whole life I've made good decisions, planned carefully and hope to get old with some financial security.  I don't think that I'll really need the senior discount.  In fact, the seniors that are getting it today are probably the last to get (my) Social Security dollars and the great tax benefits of being alive in the early 2000's. They will be the last generation to actually retire. They will be the last generations with pensions. Why should they get a discount just for ticking days off of the calendar?  

After reading Roxanne Porozinski's WTF? blog on supporting the troops and the paucity of military discounts in retail outlets, I'd like to expand on her point.  To me, anyone in public service should get a discount in various areas and the old people should have it taken away.  Here's my proposal:

Military- Anyone with military service should get a National Service Discount of 20% on everything and those that have seen active combat should get stuff at cost.  I'd like to see free gas for everyone that served in the Persian Gulf campaigns going back to 1990.  Basically, they put their butts on the line to make sure you'd have gas, so theirs should be free.

Teachers- School teachers do not get compensated correctly for the hard work they do and we need to incentivize the profession.  It is not going to happen through more taxes or budget referrenda, so let's give them a break on the costs associated with living in a place where they get to shape our childrens' futures.  Active teachers should get a National Service Discount of 50% on all essentials (groceries, clothes, etc) and should never pay property tax.

Professors- 'Nuff said.  The folks that are advancing science, technology and arts in the public domain, making cutting edge discovery part of the national fabric and accessible away from corporate trappings.  We're training the next generation of thinkers and don't see nearly the compensation of our industry equivalents, actually we're at about 50%. On top of that, most of us went to school for years longer than physicians to be qualified for the position, so that brings considerable debt that needs to be neutralized. If you gave professors a 50% National Service Discount on alcoholic beverages, coffee, firearms and medication it would be a substantial return and ensure continued performance in the public interest.

Other ideas?  I'd sure like to hear them.  We also can stop the tax breaks to churches (basically a business dealing in faith; dripping with extravagance in many cases) but that's a story for another day.

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